Mimi Munro was born (1952) in Daytona Beach, Florida, raised in Ormond, and began surfing at age 10. She started surfing by watching some friends, "When I was 10 years old they had a surfboard that was really big, so big it took a couple guys to carry it to the water. They said, "Hey, Mimi! Come try this," and that was that," "The board was so big you couldn't help but stand on it." Later Mimi would take her older brother's surfboard," She would get home from school before he would and sneak out back. She had to give it up when he came home yelling at her.
It wasn't long before this little dynamo had caught the attention of some of the big guys. "At my first contest, I still had no surfboard so I borrowed one. Then, I was given one by Daytona Beach Surf Shop after I won the Florida State Surfing Championships. From there, Mimi surfed a lot of small local contests in Daytona, Ormond, and Flagler and went to the East Coast Surfing Championships where she met Dick Catri and was asked to join his team. She was 13 at the time. Two years later Mimi became Florida's state champion, and in 1965 and 1966 she won the East Coast Surfing Championships. By 1965 she was the best female noserider in the world.
Mimi; "At 13-years-old, I was a shy kid and didn't talk easily with people I didn't know or even people I did know. Other kids wouldn't approach us because of our "status" as surfers in the limelight and that was tough, even back home at school, I just wanted to be one of the kids. Even the kids I knew back home put up some barriers, but part of it was really just me being shy."
Surfing with Catri in what would become the Hobie Surf Team, she traveled up the East Coast during her summer breaks and would end up at the Virginia Beach East Coast Surfing Championships. That led to a slot in the 1966 World Contest.
As one of the first East Coast surfers to compete internationally, 14-year-old Munro took home third place from the 1966 World Surfing Championship.
Mimi quit surfing in 1968 at 16, in part because she'd been teased in school for being a tomboy. at 20 she married, at 33 she had four children, and at 40 she "began to dream about surfing" and started riding a longboard. In 2001, at age 49, Mimi returned, she won the women's pro division of the Cocoa Beach Easter Surfing Festival.
Munro was inducted into the East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame in 1996.
I had had dreams about surfing when the kids were older than toddlers and I would be thinking about surfing and wake up or wanting to check the waves and couldn't get to the beach and I'd wake up before I could get over the dunes or before I could get to the water. Then, one night I did get to water. So, I decided it was time to go back.
Getting my surfing back, really took like 20 minutes. So from there, I called Dick Catri up and said I needed a surfboard and he said 'Where have you been?'"
The best part was a feeling of coming home again.
"There were some other surfers from California who I had known as a kid and they had come out for the contest and even though all that time had passed, it was like it all disappeared, like they saved my place in the line up. The gap just closed up. I was really surprised that people even remembered me."
Now a grandmother, Munro is still inspiring women and children to the surf. She does the summer camps and just added one for women last year.
Mimi Munro was named the 2007 Woman of the Year by the Surf Walk of Fame organization in Huntington Beach.
[Credit: Multiple sources ad Surf Guru]